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Tuesday, July 19, 2005
What makes Jane chuck?
  1. Taking a calcium pill on an empty stomach.
  2. Taking a calcium pill, cut in half, on an empty stomach.
  3. Eating two bites of egg that had been the source of much craving.
  4. Eating a slice of delicious tomato with lunch (to be fair, this was only a heave, not a chuck).
  5. Taking one bite too many of salad at dinner.

But on the bright side: Chucking is quite easy, don't you know, with the new tum. And yes, yes...I know...too much information AGAIN. You see, this is why I haven't been blogging much lately. Right now everything seems to be centered on my recuperation and getting used to eating solids again.
And on another bright side: Long-time readers of Not My Dog may have noticed that I refrained from my usual Stampede rant this year. I just stayed the hell away from it all, while chuckling quietly at every transwestite I came across.
Monday, July 04, 2005
WARNING: Extremely long-winded post ahead.

Right Back At It, with innards nicely celtic-knotworked together and staples starting to itch like demons. Those staples are getting yanked at about 3:15 today, all 16 of them, and I expect to be in a rotten mood during the yanking. These suckers are deeper than a fourth-year philosophy major. I tried an experimental tug on the wiggliest one, but the nerve endings beat out "BAD IDEA" before I made any progress. Let my beloved GP hurt me. That's her job. [Update! Didn't hurt a bit.]
So, how was it? Well, since my last experience of surgery was back in my childhood (and those nuns LIED when they said the needle wouldn't hurt), I didn't really have much to compare it to. Certainly the pre-op was interesting, lying in bed draped in a "johnnie," watching as other patients were wheeled off one by one, their families blowing kisses. My sterling auntie Niki had awoken at 4:30 to be ready to drive me to the hospital for 6:00 a.m., but by 8:30 a.m. I still hadn't been wheeled away, so I bade her goodbye. At approx. 9:15 a.m., my number came up, and I was wheeled to the waiting area in the surgical suite.
The previous day, in conversation with my wonderful sister-in-law, Alayne, who's an anaesthesiologist, I learned that I would meet with my own anaesthesiologist before going into the O.R. "Whatever you do," she said, "don't say you have a high pain threshold. Patients do that all the time and it drives us nuts." While in the surgical suite, I was given my "party hat", and was asked twice by different staff what operation I was having, as a safeguard. There were three other patients waiting to go to their O.R.s, and they were all orthopedic patients. I was the only "gut" in the room. An anaesthesiologist came to talk to the woman beside me, a gruff woman in her 50s. "Don't mind me being rude," she said. "I've had lots of surgery before and I just want to get it over with." The anaesthesiologist asked her a couple of questions about her condition, and about what she could expect from the operation--"Oh, yeah yeah," she said, "I know. I'm not worried. I've got a very high pain threshold." Quickly I looked at the anaesthesiologist, whose expression was inscrutable.
So, what's surgery like? My surgery was like this: I met with the anaesthesiologist and then was wheeled into the O.R., where I met the surgical nurses. They helped me scoot onto the narrow table that was covered with green rubber matting, and place both arms on the wings. ("A lot of patients comment about 'crucifixion' and having to make 'Jesus arms' when they get onto the table," Alayne said. "We hear that one all the time, too.") The anaesthesiologist came in, waited until one of the nurses put an oxygen mask on my face, and then said "I'm going to give you a preliminary shot that'll make you feel woozy."
Waking up: I heard "Jane? Do you know where you are?" and managed to focus one eye on my post-op surroundings. A nurse was standing next to my gurney, asking me (I think) about the reason I decided to have a gastric bypass, but to tell the truth, I was utterly stoned and am not sure what either of us was saying. I vaguely recall being wheeled to my room, where I was surprised to find that I could shift myself quite easily from the gurney onto the bed.
As fond as I am of altered consciousness, I have to say that coming out of the anaesthetic wasn't all that fun. I couldn't focus my eyes no matter how hard I tried. Time ceased to have meaning. I'd sleep for 10 minutes and wake up thinking it was the next day. Sleep itself was punctuated with bizarre dream imagery. To make matters worse, I was sweating torrents, so much so that the nurses wrote it down in their night report.
The rest of the hospital stay was mostly uneventful, except for the profuse perspiration. Morphine: a very good thing. The nursing staff at the Royal Alex were superb, and didn't seem to mind that I kept setting the bathroom alarm off accidentally. For the first two days I was forbidden anything by mouth, so had to content myself with moistened swabs while huge IV bags took care of my hydration (a lot of which was sweated away). The first mouthful of jello on the third day was a big event. Other "events" included first flatulence, a sign that everything was working as it should, and of course, first "movement." As Jane bounds gleefully into Too Much Infoland.
The Amazing Thing: Dad flew out from Vancouver Island to Calgary, rented a car, drove to Edmonton and waited for me to be discharged from the hospital so that he could drive me to my brother's house in Red Deer. This from a man famous for not visiting me! I was dumbfounded and not a little impressed. Also much amused by Dad's driving conversation, which is actually just him grousing at other drivers. When lights turned green, before the drivers in front of us could even have put a foot on the gas, Dad would snap, "Move it, you dummy, you." At one point I thought I might pop a staple from suppressed chuckling.
A week of supreme spoiling at the brother and sister-in-law's place was wonderful, and I was out and walking two to three times a day, much to the delight of their dog, the incredible bonehead Carbon. Tylenol 3: another good thing. Finally it was time to fetch Piper from Jean and Tyke's farm, and head back to Calgary. I'll be back up in Edmonton on the 11th to meet with the nutritionist, get weighed, etc. I'll be on a liquid diet until then--which, alas, does not mean martinis.
What I missed: I thought I might have the energy to return to Calgary in time for Jon and Rory's wedding on June 25th, but on the day I was still weak and groggy, and I thought it might not be such a good plan to be the drooping lump at the wedding festivities. Still: this is the biggest regret. I also missed my last Meisner acting class, and the swanky Karo open house. Did I miss the flooding? Yes, but the same could not be said for Vinnie La Vin and Schmuke, who have had to strip their basement back to cement floors and wood frames. Qué bummer.
Thanks to everyone who wrote or phoned, and thanks to the magnificent Myrmidons for brutalizing the competition over the last two weeks. Your flowers outlasted the other bouquets, too. Whehey!